Mindfulness Garden Project at Abbotsford

12th July 2021

Head Gardener Tim talks about his Mindfulness Garden project for Sir Walter Scott’s 250th anniversary.

With the help of our volunteers and gardening team, we are in the process of creating a mindfulness garden as part of Sir Walter Scott’s 250th anniversary celebrations. This mindfulness area will be located in the Morris Garden, and if all goes well should be finished by the end of July. It will be a perfect place to relax, reconnect with nature and enjoy a quiet moment outdoors.

Our goal is for people to have a quiet retreat where they can sit and experience the calming effects of being in the present moment surrounded by beautiful flowers and nature. It will be a full sensory experience with gentle flower fragrances, soothing pastel colours, different plant textures and the sound of water as well as the surrounding wildlife.

Sir Walter Scott was a big advocate for health and wellbeing practices, and he recognised that having a regular quiet pause outdoors was an immense benefit. He knew that outdoor activities had significant positive effects on the body and mind. Because of Scott’s affliction with polio, he was sent to live with his grandfather in the Scottish Borders during his early childhood. It was there that he fell in love with nature and realised just how important it is to have regular outdoor activities as part of our daily routine. Later in life he returned to the Borders and designed the landscape that we are familiar with today, with many of the trees on the Abbotsford estate planted by Scott himself. Scott enjoyed being surrounded by nature and found joy and comfort in caring for the land around him, as he says in his own words:“Planting and pruning trees I could work at from morning till night and if my poetical revenues enable me to have a few acres of my own that is one of the principal pleasures that I look forward to”.

The first stage of our mindfulness project was to remove the plants that were growing in the area and relocate them elsewhere. It is always a great practice for any avid gardener to recycle plants! We then lifted the path slabs and rearranged them to make the path more even and wider for wheelchair access.

Next, we will install the water feature. There are many different types out there, the one we chose has a basin at the bottom that recycles water to make it more eco-friendly.

The last stage will be to plant and arrange all the flowers and foliage. We have chosen a wide range of flowers and plants that have gentle fragrances, soft colour palette, different textures and attracts bees and butterflies. It is important to choose the plants according to what your intention is with the space. Choosing the right ones for the amount of sunlight you get and the type of soil you have will ensure that your garden flourishes.

What can you do to create a mindfulness space in your own garden?

To put it simply, make a plan.

•Figure out what you want to achieve in your garden space.
•Choose a suitable area for your project.
•Choose plants accordingly. It is important to take note of what type of soil you have and the amount of sunlight youget in the area to make sure the flowers thrive.
•Then proceed with planting the flowers and any other features for the desired effect.

Recycling your plants and moving them elsewhere instead of throwing them out is always a good idea.

Follow us along to see the progress of our mindfulness garden project and the steps we take to create it.

If you are in the process of making your own mindfulness garden area, please share it on social media and tag us! We are always happy to see your garden projects.

You can also find out more about the Walter Scott 250th celebrations on the Walter Scott 250 website.